The Department of Agriculture and Food has introduced restrictions on the entry of Myrtaceae plants coming into Western Australia from Tasmania, to help safeguard against a serious plant disease which affects native plants.
It follows the detection of the plant disease pathogen myrtle rust at a property on Tasmania’s north-west coast.
Department plant biosecurity director John van Schagen said myrtle rust is a serious disease that threatens many plants including eucalypts, bottlebrushes, paperbarks and peppermint trees.
“If established in WA, myrtle rust could be a significant pest for native vegetation and plantations, and the nursery and garden industry,” Mr van Schagen said.
The disease was first discovered in Australia in April 2010 in a New South Wales nursery. It is now spread throughout coastal Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria.
The new restrictions that apply to material from Tasmania, add to measures already in place for material coming from mainland Australia.
The measures, under the Biosecurity and Agriculture and Management Act 2007, restrict the entry of plants or plant parts including cut flowers, foliage, seed, fruit, tissue cultures and dry plant material of the family Myrtaceae, except under approved conditions.
“Myrtle rust has not been detected in WA but it is important to remain vigilant with efforts focused on preventing its entry, and early detection,” Mr van Schagen said.
The department is working with industry and other agencies including the Forest Products Commission, Department of Parks and Wildlife and Nursery and Garden Industry (WA) to minimise the impact of these measures on nursery and forestry industries.
Media contacts: Jodie Thomson/Lisa Bertram, media liaison +61 (0)8 9368 3937